NT election 2020 candidates – Jeff Collins

by | May 14, 2020 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

The NT Independent is providing you with a light-hearted look at the candidates for the August 22 NT general election. We’re not looking at policy or platforms at this time, but rather at the person behind them.

Our Q&A should help you get to know the humans of NT politics.

Today’s profile is Jeff Collins, Territory Alliance MLA for Fong Lim who will be re-contesting his seat in the upcoming election. Jeff was elected in 2016 as a Labor MLA but was removed from the Labor caucus due to his criticism of the government’s financial management in December 2018. He later quit the Labor party in February 2019, and after a period of sitting as an independent, joined Territory Alliance in March 2020.

Jeff is the father of four children, Grant and Alyssa (both adults) and Sophie and Eloise. He lives in Parap and Sophie and Eloise attend Darwin Middle School.

Before being elected was a senior lawyer with law firm Ward Keller and had formerly worked for Clayton Utz in Darwin, and Colin Biggers & Paisley in Sydney and as a barrister at Edmund Barton Chambers in Sydney. His legal practice consisted generally of building and construction law, commercial litigation, insolvency and bankruptcy matters, workers’ compensation and industrial relations matters. Jeff was also a councilor and treasurer of the Law Society NT and a member of the National Human Rights Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

Jeff left school at 16 and completed an apprenticeship as an electrician. He then joined the NSW Fire Brigades and worked as a professional firefighter. While working as a firefighter, Jeff went back to study and completed an arts degree, majoring in history and politics at the University of Sydney, then a law degree with honours at the University of Technology, Sydney. In May 2012, Jeff and his family moved to Darwin as a sea-change and to spend more time with his two young daughters.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who did it come from?

This is not so much advice, more an observation, from Kevin Stevens, senior partner at Ward Keller. It was March 2012 and I was here interviewing for a job as a lawyer. Kevin walked me into the Ward Keller conference room with its magnificent view overlooking Parliament House and across the harbour and commented, “ah the Territory, the land of opportunity”.

Never truer words have been said.

While we may have our ongoing difficulties, the fundamental fact remains, the Territory has potential and opportunity in bucket loads.

 Tell us something interesting or quirky about yourself.

I once went to Orange, NSW, for a weekend soccer tournament. I managed to get so drunk on the Friday night I could barely move on Saturday morning and had to sit out the first match. Unfortunately, about half way through the first half our goalkeeper was injured and had to come off. I had never played in goals before, but had no other option.

Long story short, I spent the rest of the tournament in goals and went home with a broken nose, two black eyes and the player of the tournament gong!

How would your best mate describe you in twenty words or less?

Easy-going with a dry, self-deprecating, sense of humour. Supportive and above all else, loyal. Stubborn.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring one movie, one album and one book, what would they be?

Movie: The Shawshank Redemption directed by Frank Darabont. Album: American Idiot by Green Day. Book: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien.

If you could invite anyone in history to dinner, who would it be and why?

Hunter S. Thompson, how could it not be entertaining!

A couple of really quick questions. You can give one-word answers if you wish.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee, but tea on occasions.

Folder or scruncher?

Folder, but with a half-scrunch and a quarter twist.

AFL or NRL?

Generally NRL. Being born and bred in Parramatta I have had more than 30 years of heartache and disappointment from the Eels and the Blues. My daughter now plays AFL for Waratah and the Swans are always good to watch.

Wet season or dry season?

Dry season, just sensational!

Coles or Woollies?

Woollies, for no particular reason other than convenience.

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